When it comes to establishing a memorable and attractive brand, designers are the first port of call. They can use their talents to draw audiences’ attention to your biggest USPs and help set the tone for your marketing and advertising materials. However, collaborations with designers can often become frustrated by a lack of communication and mutual understanding where it becomes difficult to align their work with the desires of the relevant stakeholders. To help get the best possible outcome from hiring a designer, we’ve put together a list of the critical considerations and best practices to improve your chances of making a successful and fruitful hire.
Understand What You Want From a Designer
No matter how talented a designer is, you won’t be able to make the most of their talents if you’re not both on the same page, creatively and commercially. Stakeholders and the relevant department heads need to be able to clearly articulate their vision for the designer’s work and what they want it to achieve. They also have to define the business’s values and narrative so they understand how their work helps elevate the overall brand. To achieve this, you might find it easiest to put together a small design packet that you can show prospective hires so they can get a full picture of what you expect from the role. The design packet ought to include:
- Your company’s mission statement and a short summary of its history
- The specific markets you’re trying to target
- The business’s long-term goals
- A brief breakdown of the products and services you offer
- A collection of examples of existing designs, advertisements, and logos, to show the designer some of the directions you would like their work to go in.
Think of the design packet almost as an employer’s portfolio. The materials it contains should be more than enough to acclimatize a designer to your expectations, and it’ll prove invaluable in making the hiring process more efficient.
Develop Your Project Specifications
With a design packet in place, you need to start looking at the specifics for the role of the designer in your business. First of all, outline your design budget, as this will likely dictate the scope of the designer’s remit. Then create a schedule with deadlines and milestones for the delivery of design work. Also consider the kind of media that you want (eg. web design, graphic design, UX/ UI designer, etc.) as this will have a massive bearing on the candidates that you’ll be pursuing.
Although some designers will be professionally versed in different schools of design, it’s best to be clear and create a job listing that contains the skills you need to complete any immediate projects. This will minimize the chances of you wasting valuable time on unsuitable candidates during the interview process.
Proactively Pursue Candidates
Now you know what you’re looking for in a design hire, it’s time to start looking for candidates. The first place to begin is by posting your job description. This should be on your company’s website and any recruitment agencies you might wish to employ. However, taking a passive approach to hiring by waiting for the perfect candidate to get in touch with you might not be the best course of action. A proactive attitude to hiring is more likely to generate prospects with the best set of skills to suit your requirements.
Nowadays, online tools allow you to browse through candidates by experience, skills, and even location, to help you easily connect with talented designers who match your hiring specifications. A hiring tool like SignalHire can help you hire a designer online by scanning professional profiles for the right keywords regarding skills or job experience. Additionally, SignalHire provides you with a prospect’s email address verified by third-party tools, so you can get in contact without having to go through a middle-man like LinkedIn or pay recruiter fees. These tools can help you connect with designers with the optimum professional profile for your business, to help save you time dealing with unsuitable respondents to your job listing.
Refine Your Interview Technique
Before offering interviews, you need to examine prospective designers’ portfolios to get an idea as to whether their style aligns with the preferences of stakeholders and department heads. Hopefully, your design packet should already have narrowed down the shortlist of applicants to the prospects who best feel that their talents would be a suitable fit for the role. However, once you reach the interview stage, you need to start looking out for the qualities of a designer that can’t be deduced from a simple resume.
Namely, you want to use the interview process to establish whether the designer has the necessary “soft skills” that would make them a good fit for your business. Soft skills refer to employee qualities like leadership, communication skills, and lateral thinking, that might not immediately be apparent when looking over their portfolio or list of technical expertise. Be sure to ask candidates why they would like to work for your company. Ambitious and engaged prospects will have already made some preliminary research about your business’s goals and values before they step into the interview, and ought to be able to display a meaningful insight into the contributions they could make to your company.
Lastly, be sure to provide candidates with an opportunity to ask their own questions at the end of the interview – these could prove just as instructive in determining how engaged they are with the position as their answer to your questions and help show you where their strengths as a new hire might lie.
Professional design is a multifaceted field, and that’s why it’s crucial that you establish what you’ll want from a designer before you begin the hiring process. Once you’ve established the requirements for the role with the relevant stakeholders, create a profile for the ideal candidate that can help you narrow your interview funnels. For the interview process, ensure that your interview questions challenge candidates on more than just the bare facts of their qualifications and job experience. While it can be tricky to hire designers, the right candidate can offer your brand a magnitude of positives, so it’s worth taking the time to get your hiring process just right.